This article was previously published on Associated Content.
Almost everyone who has a blog or web site these days, who writes articles or creates pages on sites like Squidoo etc, will be familiar with what is commonly called Link Spamming.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, I am sure you have seen comments on articles that advertise shopping sites, where to get Viagra, get rich quick schemes or dating sites etc. These comments are almost always completely unrelated to the content of the original article, and the creators try to get backlinks to them by adding them to Guestbooks and Comment boxes wherever they can.
This is Link Spam!
Link Spam used to be an irritating problem until several years ago, however now there are at least several Chinese consortiums who are doing this on a large scale, as well as all the other people that are spamming across the internet.
These consortiums are registering hundreds of domains selling fake goods, or phishing for personal information, and they use a combination of automated scripts and peons to add the same junk comments to articles on articles and blogs by their thousand.
The problem is a two-fold one. Firstly, these sites are unreliable, usually selling fake goods, but very often taking the customer’s money and then they never see anything in return. Secondly, the spam comments are becoming a plague, destroying the integrity of guestbooks and article comments, and on sites where the author can delete these, they are taking a lot of time to manage.
There are, however, ways in which you can both frustrate the originators of these link spam comments, and also help to safeguard unsuspecting online shoppers who are potential targets for these villains and who are naive enough to fall prey to their sites.
FIGHTING BACK AT LINK SPAMMERS
You may have heard of WOT or Web Of Trust, which is a Plugin that can be used in any web browser.
If you have WOT installed in your browser, it warns you of any web site that you try to visit which is a threat, whether it contains a virus, hacking scripts, or attempts to phish for information.
This is a very useful tool to have, and if you are doing for example a search in Google, it shows the rating for each site that is displayed, so you know which ones to not click on.
As a member of WOT (free to join), you can also rate web sites and add comments to highlight why they are good or bad.
As well as deleting (if possible) any comments that have been left on your articles, you now have the power to rate the web sites that the spammers left in their comments as being promoted using Link Spam and to give them a low rating.
Now, if you or anyone else tries to visit that site, WOT will warn them that is has been rated as unsafe, and to access it at their own risk.
PROTECTING SHOPPERS FROM ONLINE FRAUD
One of the best things that you can do to protect the unwary internet novice is to get them to install the WOT plugin in their browser.
You can do this by emailing the address for Web Of Trust to your friends, or even better email them a copy of this article.
You can also share this article on Social Networking sites such as Facebook, My Space etc, to help warn your friends about these web sites and to advise them to install the WOT plugin.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A LINK SPAM SITE
The first thing to do is to visit the site, to see if it has already been rated as Spam or Unsafe by WOT.
If if has not yet been rated, it’s important to give it a rating to warn future visitors. Even if it has been rated previously, the rating is given more credence if you also rate it, and add a comment to say why you are rating it that way.
Another thing that you can do is to add the link spam site to the list of sites that spam at Fight Back At Spam which is a lens on Squidoo. For anyone who has a few minutes to spare, it’s a good idea to visit each of the sites that has been listed on this lens, and to rate it as being promoted using link spam. This way, the sites that spam are given more powerful spam ratings, which reduces their ability to sell their wears and to trick innocent people out of their money.
THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO FIGHT BACK AT SPAM
If you want to do your bit to help stop the spread of link spam and to reduce their ability to profit from the innocent, don’t forget to:
- Install the WOT plugin in your browser
- Rate spam sites as unsafe in WOT
- Add spam sites to the list at Fight Back At Spam
- Tell your friends about WOT to protect them
- Share this article on Facebook or other social networks
Let’s all be safe out there in the cyber world, and do our bit to help others stay safe too.